|Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson
The title of Sigmarsson's So Long release makes it sound as if he's bidding adieu to recording activity, which would be something of a shame if the evidence at hand is representative of his solo work. Though the sixty-seven-minute recording features three long dronescapes, the pieces themselves play like patchworks whose components have been assiduously stitched together. And yet while such parts might have been created years apart from one another (the liner notes indicate that the recording's content was produced between 1998 and 2013) and in entirely different locales, they do form coherent wholes. Whatever juxtapositions there are in these travelogues aren't jarring; instead, transitions occur so fluidly within them, the listener is drawn into the material's hauntological soundworlds before conscious awareness of the absorption sets in. Hallucinatory, hypnotic, and flecked with ambient-industrial detail, Sigmarsson's carefully sutured material inhales and exhales like a slumbering body, and tension surreptitiously builds throughout the twenty-eight-minute opener “Eight Hour Delay” when one rumbling episode follows another. Inflamed by synthesizer textures and Ania Courtis's guitar manipulations, the aptly named “The Trip” presents, by comparison, a more turbulent phantasmagoria where lacerating winds blow across barren stretches of frozen terrain and organ tones warm the survivors' bones. At disc's end, “Late Night Arrival” dials the intensity down for fourteen nocturnal minutes of sludge-like hiss and blur. Interestingly, So Long almost never saw the light of day. Though it originally was scheduled to appear on Intransitive Recordings, the plan was scuttled when the label ceased operations, prompting The Helen Scarsdale Agency to step in and midwife these dronescaping creations into the world.